- Jurgen Klopp was the first to admit Liverpool had an uphill task after their Champions League exit
- Europe's top competition provided the only slim chance the Reds had for any trophy this campaign
- Questions are now starting to arise on whether it is time for Klopp to walk away from the Anfield job
Liverpool’s newest low was confirmed on March 15 after a 1-0 defeat to Real Madrid at the Santiago Bernabeu Stadium confirmed the Reds would endure a trophy-less season at Anfield.
This was their biggest-ever aggregate defeat in the Champions League and it brought into perspective the dramatic collapse of a team which won the competition less than four years ago - in 2019.
In his post-match interview, Jurgen Klopp admitted his side was struggling as they 'could not put up a special performance'.
“We came here with the backpack we had with the three goals difference. You need a special performance and we didn't show [it],” the German manager said as quoted by Liverpool's official website.
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Liverpool’s torrid season
It has been anything but a good season for the Reds, whose league campaign is in tatters as they try to creep back into contention for a top-four finish.
They were knocked out of the Carabao Cup by Manchester City as United went on to win the trophy. In the FA Cup, Brighton stole a winner in January to ensure the holders would not be winning the cup a second time in a row, as per the BBC.
While it is almost certain there are elements of burnout from playing the maximum number of games possible in English football last season, there is still concern that perhaps there is more to Liverpool’s shortcomings this season than a 2022 hangover.
End of a Liverpool era?
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The brilliant Liverpool front three comprising Mohamed Salah, Roberto Firmino, and Sadio Mane split in the summer. The Senegalese star joined Bayern Munich, while the Brazilian recently confirmed he was leaving the club at the end of the current season.
In midfield, James Milner is in his twilight years (37), while the veteran, Jordan Henderson, who has been a key leadership figure in the side, is also not getting any younger.
Then there is the infamous ‘seventh season curse’ that has been associated with Klopp and his former teams. The German manager, for all his brilliance, has always struggled in his seventh campaign with a team, according to some bizarre stats.
Despite investing in some brilliant talents in Cody Gakpo and Darwin Nunez, there is no doubt Liverpool are not the same team from as little as a year ago.
Perhaps a major rebuild should be on the cards.
Does this mean Jurgen Klopp has run his time at Anfield? Well, with Premier League, Champions League, FA Cup, and Carabao Cup successes in his tenure, it is hard to see the German taking the club any higher than he already has.
Why Madrid played Liverpool anthem
Sports Brief also reported on why You'll Never Walk Alone was played at the Santiago Bernabeu Stadium despite Liverpool exiting the Champions League.
The famous Reds' anthem sounded in the home arena of Real Madrid on Wednesday as players shared congratulations and commiserations after the tie.
Los Blancos manager, Carlo Ancelotti has now revealed why the club's own song was not played instead despite being victors of both legs on aggregate.